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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

Archive for the ‘60+’ Category

A Subsegment of Seniors Tops Spending Charts

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

You might not be surprised to learn that those who spend the most daily are those with children under the age of 18. After reading a new Gallup report, we discovered there is an age overlay to daily spending as well: 65+ seniors with young children have the highest daily spending of any Americans.

Americans daily spending - Seniors with children under 16 top charts

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 338,000 households in which children under 18 are living with at least one parent over 65.

There also are 1,648,000 US households in which a child under 18 lives with a grandparent and no parents are present in the household. These grandparents can be of any age, though most are between 55 and 65, per Census data.

While this is not a huge segment, it’s certainly an intriguing one. As demographic trends collide — longevity bonuses, delayed marriages and child bearing, fractured families — our stereotypes of who is the “parent” of a young child will be challenged. And so might stereotypes about discretionary spending and 65+ seniors.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Mobile Apps & The New Face of Retirement

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Happy Monday!  Hard to believe that the month is already half over.  Thankfully, we’ve got another round-up of the top mature marketing articles and insights that had people talking this past week.  Have something to add?  We’d love to see your comments in the section below.

Mobile Apps MOST SHARED: There’s an app for that!

Seems like this is a phrase uttered repeatedly as more and more adapt to smart phones.  An article by Kerry Gorgone introduced 7 must-have phone apps for mature marketers.  Some of the “essential apps” according to the author:

*Evernote Hello: provides full social media profile when an email address is entered.

*Userium: creates a website usability checklist to ensure your site is optimized.

*Moat: suite of online banner ads and design inspiration.

Learn about other apps and read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1kRdhIg

MOST CLICKED: A Forbes article entitled A Guide to the New Retirement Communities drove several clicks this past week.  Beth Baker, author of the book With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community As We Grow Older traveled the country exploring retirement communities. Interviewed by Forbes, Baker shared some of her top insights from her travels, including her surprise at the number of non-traditional communities people have flocked to.

In the past, with traditional retirement communities, people were dependent on a company or nonprofit to create them. That traditional model was much more top-down. I don’t want to come across as bashing those communities, because I know people who have moved there and are happy. But I think many people don’t like the feeling of being isolated from the broader community. They don’t like the idea of being around only older people.

For mature marketing experts, understanding that a community is more than just the four-walls will help you more effectively stand out from competitors and welcome more residents.

WORTH REPEATING: Will the new Facebook Paper format appeal to boomers and seniors?  Read the article by Creating Results’ Jessica Ruhle to learn how to best leverage social media to reach your mature target market.

Three Take-Aways from Senior Living Conference PEAK 2014

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Last week several members of the Creating Results team attended the LeadingAge PEAK Leadership Summit, held right in our backyard in Washington, DC. Sponsored by LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit senior living organizations and aging services providers, PEAK brings together senior level members of communities to share new innovations taking place within their organizations.

I left the conference energized and wanted to share some of the key take-aways that can help you, as a senior living professional, advance your own mission and ensure you are creating an environment that is enticing for your target markets.

Key Senior Living Lessons Learned (and Applied)

The importance of innovation in keeping senior living communities and their services relevant and (most importantly) competitive was a common theme throughout PEAK 2014. As baby boomers enter retirement they are making their own rules on what senior living should be. Several sessions included real-world examples on how CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) are preparing for baby boomers and differentiating themselves from the competition.

It’s important to ensure you are innovating for the right reasons and in a way that will appeal to your target market – not just for innovation sake.  Here are some key lessons and applications that were shared during the conference.

1. Forge new partnerships. Consider how to increase relevance, convenience and affordability by partnering with other aging service providers, hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s), universities and local businesses.

* There is strength in numbers. Could a partnership increase your purchasing power and lower costs? Or, help you respond to changes in payment models?
* Be interesting NOT selly. Can a partnership with a college or business give your community an opportunity to have a conversation, or be helpful to your prospective residents?

2.  RepositioninSenior Living North Hill Community Rebrandingg and new offerings. Continuing Care at Home (CCAH) is one way to complement existing service options and reach those who cannot afford residency. This allows a CCRC to use their existing strengths to serve the greater community, while building awareness of their services.

*Lisa McCracken from Zeigler used North Hill (a CCRC in Needham, Mass., and a client of ours) as an example of how to make a positive change to your organization’s future in the market. Read a case study about how North Hill repositioned themselves.
*What’s in a name? Mather LifeWays is encouraging LeadingAge members to reconsider the term CCRC to appeal to the next generation of older adults. Senior living organizations can participate in their “NameStorm” – information and tools to facilitate ideas can be found here: http://bit.ly/1eFQ4Uy3.

3.  Innovation is not limited to IT, and it’s ok to start small. Sometimes the best innovations in senior living start small and grow. Caution: Avoid trying too much at once as your efforts may get diluted. Focus on a few key goals or changes you wish to accomplish and start there.

* One of the first areas that LeadingAge members have invested in when looking at IT is actually their marketing.  They’ve incorporated tools like Customer Relationship Databases (CRM) as well as enhanced programming of their websites.  Several speakers categorized these innovations as their largest.  Is this true in your organization?  Are you planning to invest in change here?
*When implementing IT changes, the biggest leadership challenge is often getting team members excited about and used to the new technology.
*Leading an organization past the resistance to change has been done successfully by getting everyone believing in the common vision. Find the champions – or super users – who will “Inspire and Connect to Transform” (in the words of Masonicare’s Kelly Papa).

The insights don’t stop here… Stay tuned for insights in a future blog post for how you can implement and lead change.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Senior Housing and Creative Inspiration

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Happy Monday!  Let’s jump right into the mature marketing news and insights from the past week that had people talking, clicking and sharing.  Have other senior marketing news to share?  Please be sure to post it in the comment section.

1. MOST CLICKED

A 2012 survey identifying real estate trends reported that senior housing was  “among the most attSenior Housing Trendsractive property types for new investments.”  The research was shared in a recent Senior Housing News article, and noted that 1/5 of survey respondents indicated they had current investments in senior housing properties.

The sector has, according to NIC, “consistently remained among the respondents’ five most attractive property types” for new investment.

This is of no surprise as more and more baby boomers come of age and begin to look for communities that offer maintenance free living and amenity packages.  For marketers, knowing senior housing continues to be a focus for developers and how to best distinguish your community from the increasing competition will be key.

Learn more about the findings here.

2. MOST SHARED

As marketers, we’ve seen great success in launching new brands or initiatives by creating experiences with the marketing. Several people shared (and were inspired by) an Advertising Age article that identified what they felt are 15 of the most memorable experiential marketing campaigns. While each of the examples they noted took very different approaches, one thing that ties them together is that they were unique and engaging.  From transforming local gas stations for the premier of “Dallas”, to staging senior year football games between rival schools 15 years after the fact to virtual balconies on a cruise ship, these campaigns definitely inspire.

What experiential marketing are you doing that is relevant to your brand and helps it stand out to the mature consumer in an authentic way?  We’d love to learn about successful campaigns – please share within the comment section below.

Read the full article here.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week- Teen Content Marketing and Living Longer, Better

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I don’t know about you, but while I love that daylight savings means that it stays lighter longer, I detest the hour of sleep that is lost.  That loss won’t stop us from sharing the mature marketing news that influenced and inspired this past week.  Have something to share?  Please note in the comments below.

1. MOST CLICKED

While they may be sullen and sulky most of the time, content marketers can learn a lot about leveraging social media from teens.

While they may be sullen and sulky most of the time, content marketers can learn a lot about leveraging social media from teens.

By far the story that drew the largest amounts of clicks for the week was an article by Ann Handley, “How To Invigorate Your Marketing, Ask A Teenager”.  In her article, Handley focused on social media and chronicled how, what at times seems like a struggle for content marketers, is second nature for teens.

Then: You bought a dress at a dress shop. You wore it to prom and hoped no one else had the same dress as you. (Or if they did, you hoped you looked better in it.)
Now: “Remember that time when someone else showed up wearing the same dress to prom that I did?” said No Teen Ever.
That’s one example of the ways that people like you and me are looking to innovate with social media and content, all the while teens ( “digital natives”) are already seamlessly and naturally doing it.
Except they don’t call it “social media and content and mobile.” They just call it… living their lives.
While I doubt any mature marketing expert would dare admit it, there are many things that we can learn from how today’s teens use social media and how we can make it more engaging for our audiences. So while at times sullen, these younger generations’ ease of use teaches that  the more you can engage boomers through your social channels naturally, the more effective your content marketing will be.
2. MOST SHARED
A blog featuring an interview of the author of  the New York Times best seller, A Short Guide to a Long Life was shared by many this past week.  The book, written by Dr. David Agua, features advice for how boomers can make the most of living longer, better.  One question by the interviewer focused on how boomers can best take responsibility for their health.
The personal responsibility is our obligation to ourselves and to younger generations — we owe it to our children to be good role models. We need to train our kids to practice healthy behaviors by embracing these tips ourselves. Not only will younger generations live healthier, longer lives, but we will help prevent our own chronic illness from attacking us sooner, which means we delay the day our children will need to be our caregivers as we age.

5 Things Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About Selling to Seniors

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Yes, PBS’s hit Downton Abbey holds lessons for those selling to the 50+ market of baby boomers and seniors. So while Sunday evenings in front of the fire enjoying the upstairs/downstairs drama may appear to be leisure, it’s really sales training! 

1. Formalities aren’t old-fashioned.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-2While it may seem quaint to hear all the “Misters” and “Missus” we should remember that many elders consider it rude to be called by their first name by someone they have just met, particularly in a business situation. They are contemplating a tremendous change in their life, one with a significant price tag to boot. Perhaps they are moving from a home where they raised their family, a home filled with memories made over decades.

Remember to give seniors the respect they deserve and call them Mr./Mrs. until they give you permission to do otherwise.

2. Dress for the occasion.

Carson and Lord Grantham - Downton Abbey cricket matchOK, I confess one of the things I love most about Downton Abbey is the clothes. You have to admit they never get it wrong. The men and the women know that what they wear demonstrates they take whatever the situation is seriously, respecting the host’s and hostess’s wishes for the type of event whether it is a formal dinner or a rousing game of cricket.

Creating Results once mystery shopped a community frustrated by slow sales with million dollar town homes. The sales director, it turned out, frequently came to work in $5 tank tops and jeans. Not the right brand message at all.

So remember when you are dressing for another day in the office or going to a prospect’s home for an appointment to dress to impress and instill confidence that you are a professional dedicated to helping them make a sound senior living decision.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

downton-compliment-said-it-wrongObviously the occupants of the upstairs are better off financially but they do express appreciation and respect for the expertise and dedication of Downton’s downstairs staff.

Lords and Ladies know they can’t do it alone and neither can we. When we tour communities and see staff and residents greet one another with smiles and pleasantries it tells us that things are working well. That it is an environment where people enjoy one another regardless of their role in the community. Whether they are the Assistant Director, a Resident or a Nursing Aide, all work together to make the community stronger, and senior prospects will respond to that tone of respect.

4. Don’t forget your sense of humor and open mind.

Older adults take joy in discovery and know laughs are to be found at all times and in all places — even in a muddy pigsty (should that have been a spoiler alert?). 

downton-instrument-torture

Keeping an open mind is required both upstairs and downstairs. Don’t presume visitors in your Welcome Center who are not in their Sunday best can’t afford your community–you might be very pleasantly surprised.

5. Teamwork.

downton-staff-driveway

When the staff lines up along the stately drive to the side (and yes, slightly behind) of the Crawley extended family it is a very long line, indeed. It takes a large team to make Downton shine.

It takes a large and diverse team to build, market, sell and service the senior living market. Each of us has our own specialty but by working together we create beautiful and engaging communities that people are delighted to call home.

 

Now let’s hear from you! What lessons have you learned about selling to seniors from Downton Abbey? Do share.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Senior Happiness and the Power of Twitter

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Happy Monday! Let’s jump right into the mature marketing stories that had people talking last week.  Have something to share or add?  Please note in the comments below.

1. MOST CLICKED

Using Tailored Audiences to Drive Relevancy in TwitterThere was a lot of interest in a recent article by Shift Communications, which shared ideas for how to effectively leverage Twitter’s Tailored Audiences functionality.  Tailored Audiences was launched by Twitter in December of 2013 as a way for marketers to use tracking cookies to target subscribers who had visited their website.

The article highlighted new features which allow brands to expand their reach, including using  email databases, to identify additional brand enthusiasts within the Twitter realm.  One such example provided was to create an audience using email addresses to promote exclusive offers/news through Twitter.  Because of increased relevancy among this segment you can more effectively encourage a desired action.

Privacy concerns among boomers and seniors is one thing to keep in mind when leveraging Tailored Audiences.  While using this as a part of an integrated marketing strategy can be effective, remember to include reminders that people are receiving offers and news because of their previously expressed interest in your brand.

Read the full article here.

2. MOST SHARED

What makes us happy changes as we get older.  This is the focus of a New York Times article and associated study that drew a lot of interest this past week.  At the heart of the study was understanding why interests and desires tend to change as we age.

According to the article:

For young people trying to figure out who they want to become, extraordinary experiences help establish personal identities and are therefore prized, said Amit Bhattacharjee, the lead author of the study and a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Dartmouth College. As people become more settled, ordinary experiences become central to a sense of self and therefore more valued.

The article goes on to note that for seniors, the feeling that time is limited causes an increased desire to focus on the things (and relationships) that are most meaningful. For mature marketing professionals, knowing that time with loved ones is highly valued can help when positioning the unique selling points of a brand or organization.  Learn more about the study here.

Un-Retiring Presidents

Monday, February 17th, 2014

 

US Presidents - living and dead - represent varied approaches to retirement.

American readers of this blog are celebrating Presidents Day. There are currently five living US Presidents, representing the Greatest Generation (Jimmy Carter and George Bush, both born in 1924), leading-edge Boomers (Bill Clinton and George W Bush, both born 1946) and the trailing-edge Boomers (Barack Obama, born in 1961).* They also represent varied attitudes and approaches to retirement.

Jimmy Carter: Carter was only 56 when he was unexpectedly forced to find new employment. His response was to throw himself into volunteer groups, improving housing and health around the globe. He dramatically increased the size of Habitat for Humanity and also began his own foundation. Carter even started a club filled with people like himself — The Elders, a group of former leaders working together for peace and human rights.

George H. W. Bush: “41″ has kept active in humanitarian issues but followed a more traditional retirement plan: spending time with his family, traveling, trying to stay physically active. He marked his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays by skydiving because, as he said,

“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner. Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.”

Bill Clinton: It can be hard to find a new job in your 50s. Many employers see active adults as overqualified. Therefore many job-seekers find themselves starting their own ventures, as Clinton did after leaving the White House. A foundation to address international issues such as AIDS and poverty. Partnering with industry on product distribution (or, in this case, getting manufacturers to stop selling sugary drinks in schools). Writing a book or two.

George W. Bush: “43″ hasn’t started a similar encore career. His retirement has been rather quiet, with an emphasis on books (writing his own memoir and opening his Presidential Library). Like many Baby Boomers, Bush has been challenged by heart health. Unlike many others his age, he needn’t worry about health insurance and successfully underwent surgery for a blocked artery.

Despite President John Quincy Adams’ claim that “There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president,” few have been pathetic. Few have actually retired. History shows us they’ve been rather un-retiring.

Former Presidents served on boards or even the Supreme Court. They farmed, ranched and even designed universities. They fought battles against slavery, for human rights.

What will Obama do in his retirement? He’s got a leg up on most members of “Generation Jones” — a lifetime pension and plenty of warning to begin planning his next act.

As people live longer, more Americans — including American Presidents — find themselves having to define retirement in new ways. It’s fair to say none of them will be satisfied just drooling in a corner.

 

* Incredibly, the Silent Generation, whose members were the revolutionary leaders of the 60s (civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights), has never been elected the Oval Office.

RELATED: Re-Thinking Retirement – 6 Lessons For Marketers

Photo Credit: Reuters. Our normal Monday links round-up will be delivered to you tomorrow. Happy Presidents Day!

 

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Selfies and the “Look”

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve become obsessed with the Olympics – watching athletes go for the gold.  Here are the mature marketing articles from the past week that were singled out as golden.  Have something to share, we’d love to see it in the comment section below.

Most Shared:

In social media we creating a generation of narcissists?  This was the question posed in a recent article in Time by Peggy Drexler regarding the trend of taking and posting selfie pictures through social media. Drexler contends that new technologies have shaped every generation, including boomers, with millennials being far from the first to fall under the influence.

“Everything the baby boomers did was based on what they saw on television,” says Douglas Gomery, a media expert and journalism professor at the University of Maryland. “They grew up as television grew up, and each had an impact on the other.” The symbiotic relationship started with kid shows like Howdy Doody.

It progressed through the teen shows like American Bandstand. He says it was television coverage of Vietnam that pushed many to protest. It gave them livMature Marketing- tecnology and narcissisme coverage of events like the moon landing, JFK’s assassination and Nixon’s resignation.

The baby boomers have had their ups and downs, but they ended up a largely happy and accomplished generation. Television didn’t ruin them.

Drexler also countered the narcissism train of thought by noting that social media may actually be achieving the opposite, providing increased self- esteem by letting the selfies of the world actually help build self-confidence.

Read the article: ti.me/1fSXPUY

Most Clicked

Judy Oppenheimer received “the look” from her adult children.  As she called it, “the serious pained expression that comes over your children generally, your grown children, when they think maybe you’ve forgotten something or you’ve said something a little silly”.  Out of that look grew a story entitled Not Dead Yet: The Trials of Being – Not Caring Form, Not Dealing With But Being – An Aging Parent.

Oppenheimer spoke about her article and what she sees as a need to rethink the care conversation, allowing the parents to initiate the discussion.  A discussion that doesn’t always need to come from the assumption that just because a parent is aging they are struggling. A conversation that as marketers we can help drive by not always focusing on a problem that would facilitate the need for care.

It would be nice if we could see even in commercials now and then an intelligent comment from an elderly person because here’s the thing, as I mentioned, you know, this horrible statistic that at 85, after 85, half of us supposedly are showing some signs of dementia, which means half of us aren’t. And the fact is my father had Alzheimer’s, but also in my family I can just reel off about five cousins who are in their 90s, who are living on their own, who are just as bright and together as they ever were.

Oppenheimer went on to note that proactively preparing for the future and the impact aging has is important, but you don’t have to pity seniors or give “the look”.  Read the transcript: http://n.pr/1cos8jU

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Baby Boomer Splits & Starts

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Did you watch the Super Bowl last night? Was there a commercial that you felt would resonate with older adults … or perhaps one that would repel them? Please share your thoughts on the best and worst for 50+ers in the comments.

Our game plan hasn’t changed. It’s Monday, and that means charging up the field with the week’s top links for mature marketing professionals.

1. MOST SHARED: On Wall Street reports that Merrill Lynch has appointed its very first gerontologist. We asked … are they late to the Baby Boomer party? Could they have started better understanding this cohort sooner?

Merrill Lynch’s new hire, Cynthia Hutchins, notes that this generation has a wide variety of financial planning options to consider:

“‘From a financial planning aspect, if I want to travel the world, then there’s a cost for that.  That needs to be planned for,’ Hutchins says.

And clients’ concerns are not just limited to traditional retirement issues, she says.  ‘They’re thinking multigenerational, both up and down,’ Hutchins says.

Some clients may have elderly parents that need to be cared for. They may have adult children and grandchildren who need assistance too. Many Americans also have to consider what kind of inheritance they want to leave to their descendants; assets or life experiences?”

Read the article: http://bit.ly/1kDXUiO

A Chicago billboard for divorce lawyers. Source: CNN.

A Chicago billboard for divorce lawyers. Source: CNN.

2. MOST CLICKED: As the US divorce rate drops overall, the Baby Boomer divorce rate is surging. Why? Dr. Pepper Schwartz, the “love & relationship ambassador” for AARP (among other efforts) shared her thoughts in a CNN op-ed this week. She feels the cohort’s unique social history makes them more prone to divorce:

“They cut a swath through history partly because of their bulk — 26% of the U.S. population — and partly because of their critical approach to the status quo. As young adults, large numbers of them were part of the civil rights, anti-war, gay rights and women’s movements. Books and magazine articles in their time attacked (and counterattacked) traditional gender roles — and the institution of marriage and its traditions.

Boomer women experienced more recreational sex and more sex partners than women in previous generations. New job opportunities and careers helped create the changes in household formation (such as who was or wasn’t home during the day, who did less or more housework, and who wanted more or less sex) that disrupted traditional marriage.

As a result, the boomers experienced decades of relationship innovation, creating cultural confusion about whether marriage was necessary, and what made an excellent — or even adequate — marriage.

As boomer men and women wavered between choosing self-fulfillment over older traditions of duty, loyalty and lifetime marriage at any cost, the institution of marriage became, over time, more of a voluntary association than a predictably permanent one.”

Certainly the photo that accompanied the piece, also shared above, was unique.

Read the op-ed: http://cnn.it/1esBQ9f

3. Also of note: The “Smartphone Generation Gap” – the cell phone industry is (finally?) targeting baby boomers. Why start now? This Wall Street Journal video explores: http://on.wsj.com/1lwIcK5

RELATED: Statistics on smartphone and tablet use by age and gender

 


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